How big data enables greater opportunities for agribusiness

How big data enables greater opportunities for agribusiness

Data Foundation

Growing population, climate change, and increasing costs put huge pressure on the agricultural industry to continue to provide food for our planet while using fewer resources. Agribusinesses must constantly innovate to improve productivity and enhance efficiency. Over the last decade, a boom in technology has enabled the agricultural sector to step up to the challenge by going digital.

The increase in digital technology has the potential to further drive greater efficiency and productivity, but it also creates a mountain of data. This is what is known as big data.

Many organisations are overwhelmed by this volume of data. But big data has the potential to be of great value – you just have to know how to use it.

When data gets too big

Big data refers to the massive amount of data created by the increase in the Internet of Things (IoT), smart machinery, sensors, smart meters, and various individual internal and external data sources all leveraged in the production of goods and services.

From rural producers right through to retail, are all-seeing and implementing new IoT technology which provides valuable data but is only truly useful if correctly presented for quick oversight.

Around the globe, major industry bodies and producer funded research organisations are backing technology R&D to advance the industry forward whilst reducing costs and creating more sustainable practices. This means the development of even better technological advances is on the way – delivering even more data. 

For many agribusinesses, it’s just too much.

Dealing with big data often results in a time-consuming and costly reporting process. It creates silos of data that make it nearly impossible to collate. Individuals or Departments work from different data sources. Data security can become a problem if not correctly protected. This creates a perfect storm for errors to be easily introduced, leading to inaccurate decisions that cost you money.

Big data can create problems, or it can revolutionise your agribusiness. It’s all in how you use it.

Data Foundation

The potential for big data in agriculture

Agriculture used to be largely driven by gut instinct. Today, technology like IoTs enable greater visibility and oversight of operations, reducing uncertainties and enabling decisions to be data-driven.

The benefits cannot be underestimated. The FAO estimates that every year, ⅓ of the food produced for human consumption is wasted or lost. Using big data to revolutionise agricultural processes is necessary to create more efficiency to help battle the food crisis.

Big data can drive smart decisions and better outcomes in agriculture like:

  • Improved yields from data insights on weather patterns, soil temperature, fertiliser requirements, and more
  • Efficient use of pesticides and sprays – know how much to use without overdoing it
  • Maintain farm equipment with data that predict maintenance requirements and fuel use
  • Optimise your supply chain for efficiency
  • Remote monitoring of crop and livestock health
  • Increased profitability through enhanced efficiency and productivity

To reap the benefits of big data, you need a big data strategy to manage how you gather, share, and use your data. A data strategy considers your business goals and all the data available to you to find out which data is useful. Then, automated reporting delivers just the relevant insights.  

To take big data to the next level, you need Decision Intelligence.

Data Foundation

How Decision Intelligence accelerates operation performance with big data

Decision Intelligence (DI) turns your complex data into something that makes perfect sense. With a DI solution, you no longer need to worry about sorting through data and organising reports or even reading them – instead, data-driven insights are delivered to you, so you can act.

A DI solution combines human decision-makers with Business Intelligence and Machine Learning. All your data sources are collected and stored in one secure cloud-based location. The data is analysed and presented to you in a visual dashboard. From there, farmers and growers can make data-driven decisions. The result is higher yields at lower costs.

At Toustone, we have the know-how and the tech to put effective insights at your fingertips. We break down the mountain of data into fully automated and intuitive dashboards so you can easily see exactly what is going on in real-time. This abundance of data allows agribusinesses to accelerate the performance of their operations by having the information they need to create meaningful changes. 

A DI solution will:

  • Remove the manual reporting process
  • Stop data silos from forming
  • Ensure the security of your data
  • Create a single source of truth
  • Put predictive insights at your fingertips
  • Inject confidence into the decision-making process
  • Make sense of big data!

Any agribusiness can make the most out of the data they already have with a DI solution. Our team is ready and waiting to guide your agribusiness to a DI solution that puts big data to work for you.

Want to see how Toustone helped a leading corporate farmer enhance their on-farm efficiencies with Decision Intelligence? Read our case study on Lawson Grains.

“Working with Toustone has been great. They have been able to effectively capture information off multiple platforms and automate it. The solution has definitely made the backend of the office more efficient by getting all that data into one spot. Their personal insight continues to provide different ways to look at the data and get more out of it.”

Mat Well, Business Systems Analyst at Lawson Grains

How to build a solid data foundation for effective insights

How to build a solid data foundation for effective insights

Data Foundation

You can be sitting on a gold mine of data but if you don’t know how to extract its value, you’re wasting one of your organisation’s biggest assets!

The key to turning data into effective insights is building a solid data foundation. This means knowing which data will help you achieve your goals and how to orchestrate that data into a central hub for effective, intuitive reporting.

Building a solid data foundation ensures your data is accurate and useful. It clears the roadblocks to efficiency by creating a single source of truth. Then the final components of a Decision Intelligence (DI) solution can be implemented to automate reporting and deliver insights that drive better business outcomes.

At Toustone, we do all the hard work to enable rapid data-driven decision-making at every level of your organisation and to ensure optimal efficiency and productivity. It all starts with building a data foundation. Here’s how we work with you to achieve it!

Start with a clear vision

You need a clear vision of what you want to achieve with your data. This will enable us to determine which data sources are required to achieve your organisation’s analytic endgame.

Start by defining your desired outcomes. What exactly does your business need now, and for the future? Once your sights are set, create goals and metrics to measure your progress. This will determine which data sources and key pieces of quantified information are core to your reporting to create distinct and intuitive insights without any unnecessary distractions.

Gathering all your data sources is a critical step to supporting your vision. Many organisations still rely a manual reporting process that indirectly creates data silos, where one group holds information that is inaccessible to others or requires significant manual work in collating and producing for others. Pulling all sources together will enable your organisation to move to the next step and remove those silos while bringing everyone together to work towards common goals.

Organising your data sources enables a strategic data analytic approach to help you consistently achieve KPIs and ROI. Our team will orchestrate your data specific to your requirements to enable your vision and goals to be achieved.

Data Foundation

Work from a single source of truth

Your organisation’s vision is defined and the necessary data sources are identified. Now it’s time to centralise your data to create a single source of truth.

With all data in one cloud-based location, everyone works from the same information. All reporting is connected for easy access and deeper analysis between data sets. Your staff can easily compare how various functions affect your P&L reports and know what action to take to enhance efficiency and productivity.

Real-time information at your fingertips means your organisation can act with agility. You – and your staff – can make data-driven decisions based on clear, accurate insights without searching through manual reports and spreadsheets. A single source of truth means data can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, enabling quick and proactive decision-making.

Hosting your data in one secure cloud location enhances data security and governance. You have complete control over who accesses what information. When your entire staff have access to the data they need and nothing more, they work more efficiently and effectively.

Automate reporting to save time and money

When all your data sources are connected, reporting is automated to deliver easy-to-use visual reports. Instead of sifting through data and generating reports, you are presented with clear insights to drive better decision-making.

This is your competitive edge – a tailored cloud data model that connects all data sources, processes in real-time, and delivers automated visual reports to you and your specific role!

Hours previously spent generating and analysing reports can now be put towards actionable decisions. Accelerating your data processing will enable KPIs to be achieved consistently. Your team can work more autonomously, without requiring data confirmation and management direction.

Data Foundation

Confident, data-driven decisions for better business outcomes

This is how we create a solid and secure data foundation on which all decisions are based. A reliable data foundation injects confidence into your staff to make decisions that create better business outcomes. Less time spent build reports and waiting for management confirmation, more time for action.

This is the first phase of creating a Decision Intelligence solution. Next up we’ll go over data storytelling and how machine learning generates predictive capabilities to give you a competitive edge.

Decision Intelligence (DI) combines human decision making with Business Intelligence and Machine Learning to make better decisions – tailored to your business requirements, to accelerate your performance. If you’re curious to see how Toustone can implement a DI solution to impact your business, get in touch today. 

Industry 4.0 to 5.0: What it means for Meat Processors and Manufactures

Industry 4.0 to 5.0: What it means for Meat Processors and Manufactures

Smart Farm: What you need to know

Wondering what Industry 4.0 and 5.0 is all about? We’re here to explain.

Currently, we are living in the 4th industrial revolution – Industry 4.0. This is the age of information technology (IT), machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI). Industry 4.0 brought about the autonomous exchange of data among smart machines without the need for human intervention. Organisations benefit from the data retrieved and analysed by smart technology and the delivery of actionable insights for better decision-making.

But at the same time, we are already transitioning into Industry 5.0. What changes will this bring? Most importantly, what does your organisation need to do to stay ahead?

Industry 4.0 is here and now

Industry 4.0 is about connectivity to enhance efficiency and productivity. It has given us AI and ML, along with cloud-based computing and the Internet of Things (IoT). These technologies have created networks of smart sensors that communicate with each other rapidly and feed data back to us. It has allowed for the development of smart robots to take over menial tasks previously done by humans, freeing up human intelligence to focus on more advanced tasks.

What Industry 4.0 has in turn created is big data – large amounts of up-to-date data that is available at our fingertips, and growing every day due to continuing advances in ML and AI. This massive influx of data requires more advanced analytics capabilities than ever before. We touched on this topic in our article on Smart Farms and how this influx can create new challenges to overcome. 

This is where Business Intelligence (BI) systems come in. Thanks to BI, we can receive all of this advanced data via automated, real-time reporting. BI is the driving technology that organises and analyses large amounts of data, delivering actionable insights that simplify the decision-making process for business leaders.  

What this all means is that in Industry 4.0 we have the ability to harness the technology that drives data-driven decision-making for any organisation’s growth and advancement.

Organisations go through what we call a data maturity curve, where they move from working manually with Excel reports at the base level, all the way through to a Decision Intelligence solution. Each phase drastically improves upon the next, and it is critical to progress through the phases consecutively to build on the previous foundations.

Smart Farm: What you need to know

Industry 5.0 balances tech with human input

What Industry 5.0 introduces is a greater collaboration between humans and machines. 

Industry 4.0 is currently giving us the technology and machine power to make incredible advancements in meat processing and manufacturing. We can improve our workflow processes and maximise productivity and efficiency. ML and AI have freed up more time for humans to focus on the bigger picture by automating menial tasks. 

Industry 5.0 is the next step forward, with greater human interaction with machines in order to apply human creativity and critical thinking to machine output. It’s 4.0 with a human touch, perfectly balancing modern tech with human input. 

Some fear that machines will replace humans as workers, but that is the opposite of what Industry 5.0 is about. It is about a synergistic relationship that utilises the efficiency of machines but relies on humans to oversee and make critical decisions. Machines cannot replicate human judgment and empathy, nor the ability to shift from short-term to long-term thinking.

Machines plus human workers provide endless opportunities for businesses that take advantage of the advances. Robots will become “cobots” (“co” for collaboration), safely working alongside humans while intelligently learning about their environment to continually adapt. Manufacturing and Meat Production constantly become smarter processes. 

Even Elon Musk admitted that excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake, and that “humans are underrated.” The speed and consistency of robots increase productivity, but the human skills of creativity and critical thinking are necessary components of a collaborative manufacturing relationship to maximise productivity. 

So are BI systems ready to keep pace with Industry 5.0? BI itself is undergoing a concurrent evolution as Business Intelligence evolves into Decision Intelligence (DI).

Smart Farm: What you need to know

How can your business adapt?

What exactly is DI? Much as the evolution from Industry 4.0 to 5.0 involves greater collaboration between humans and machines, the evolution of BI to DI combines human decision making with Business Intelligence and Machine Learning.

DI relies on AI and ML to learn and improve upon decision-making models to optimise decision-making. This enables some decisions to become automated while providing humans with precise insights to make higher quality, faster decisions for those that require human input. DI provides the technology necessary for humans to utilise the mountain of available data effectively to drive better decision-making and thus better business outcomes.

In short, DI is the link between human decision-makers and machine learning. It makes sense of all of the data provided from a BI system, giving your organisation actionable insights gathered from AI- and ML-generated data.

Decision Intelligence is critical to Industry 5.0

If this is all overwhelming, let us put your mind at ease. The beauty of DI is that you don’t have to understand how any of it works.

A DI system provides your organisation with all of the technological tools needed to help you achieve the best outcomes. DI assesses data along with the chain of cause and effects of decisions for you. You can then implement the right decisions at the right time to enhance productivity and efficiency while decreasing costs. 

Basically, you don’t have to worry about the process. The end results are delivered to you so that you can make higher quality, faster decisions with less effort.

Summary: We make it easy for you

To sum up, Industry 4.0 looks to connect and centralise all the data sources within the manufacturing process for improved analytic decision-making, and Industry 5.0 creates a coexisting relationship between humans and machinery to further improve the capabilities of the organisation.

DI is the key to unlock these capabilities. The team at Toustone are experts in DI and ready to bring your organisation up to speed with Industry 4.0 and prepare you for Industry 5.0, no matter where you are at currently. We are passionate about leveraging DI to improve the processes of any size business no matter how large or small.

You don’t have to be a data scientist – that’s what we are here for. Contact our team today to see how a DI system can help your manufacturing business access data-driven insights to make better business decisions.

Smart Farms: What you need to know

Smart Farms: What you need to know

Smart Farm: What you need to know

The future of Australia’s agriculture is in smart farms.

Australia is the second-largest agricultural area in the world, after China. We have over 85,000 farms using 372 million hectares of land and 9.2 million megalitres of water. In FY 2018-2019, the gross value of Australian agriculture was more than $62 billion. The National Farmers’ Federation has set a daunting vision for that number to reach $100 billion in 2030.

As we’ve seen in the past, mother nature will always throw curveballs. But by connecting the physical world with the digital, you can develop a better understanding of your farm operations to improve efficiencies, drive better decisions, and predict what’s coming next. It is the piece of the puzzle required to move Australia into the future of agriculture while reducing the environmental impact.

If you’re curious about how smart farms and Decision Intelligence will pave the way for growth in agriculture, read on.

What Is A Smart Farm?

Smart farms use the latest technology and data analytics to optimise agricultural practices. Sensors, drones, autonomous vehicles, machinery data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) combine to enhance the overall understanding of operations and identify areas to reduce costs, improve yield and quality, and forecast what’s to come.

One critical tool for smart farms is the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT refers to all of the sensors on the farm that communicate with each other wirelessly via the internet. Using internet connections means farms can be remotely monitored. Equipment, water management, weather events, crop diseases, soil requirements – all of it can be tracked in a dashboard and viewed from any device, anywhere at any time.

Using IoT technology enables automation and more autonomous activities in day-to-day operations. For example, soil sensors track moisture levels and soil health to predict diseases. Drones diagnose crop diseases and measure water and nitrogen levels. Livestock sensors monitor health and fertility. According to KPMG, every farm should be connected to the IoT by 2030. This technology enables total oversight of daily operations, improving operational efficiency without having to be at the physical location or even in the same country! 

Lack of internet access is the biggest obstacle for Australia’s agriculture industry to go digital, and the future of farm telecommunications is changing to improve farm connectivity.

“Getting these devices to talk to each other and provide real-time information in a central dashboard at the farmer’s home or office will require connectivity on a scale never seen before, and will undoubtedly involve different interfaces, methods and systems that are not always seamlessly compatible,” says Sami Makelainen, Technology Insights Manager, CTO Strategic Planning and Foresight, Telstra. “The benefits though, once successfully done, will be game changing for Australian farmers.”

Smart Farms + Decision Intelligence = Maximum Impact

Introducing IoT devices into your farm allows you better visibility and management of your operations. With this new technology comes vast volumes of data which, when utilised correctly, can provide additional benefits and insights to your farm operations and profitability. The challenge lies with how to manage these large volumes of data, also referred to as big data. Without a strategy in place, this big data becomes siloed across the different devices with no data relationships and correlation being identified and exploited for their value. 

This is where a Decision Intelligence (DI) solution comes in to connect, automate and analyse the data to provide you with actionable insights without being a data scientist. Forget organising and reading reports. Smart farms can operate from one DI dashboard that connects and presents all of the information and insights you need to make the best decisions. The beauty of DI coupled with smart farming is that it removes that risk of building silos of data across your farm which ensures you are always working with the right information on hand.

“Data delivered by digital technology coupled with advanced analytics are a game-changer for Australian farmers to push the boundaries of performance.”
KPMG & National Farmer Federation,
Talking 2030 (2018)

Using IoT technology puts a lot of data at your fingertips, but you also need DI to know what to do with it. Manual handling of data is time-consuming and jeopardises the integrity and reliability of your data. It is too easy to accidentally copy and paste a number incorrectly, throwing off all of your results. DI eliminates the risk of these errors and delivers data-driven insights instead of just data.

The Future of Farming is Now

Smart farms use IoTs to connect every aspect of farming, from soil and crop health to best animal farming practices and weather conditions. Decision Intelligence connects all those IoT devices with any other relevant data sources into one secure location, then analyses and presents that information into an easy to use dashboard.

Farmers don’t have to waste their time analysing reports or stress about whether they are making the right decisions. A DI solution makes it easy by presenting actionable insights for the farmer to make data-driven decisions. The time and resources saved along with continual efficiency enhancements drive higher yields at lower costs.

Smart farming resources are available and are being used now. Toustone has developed a ready-to-implement Agri DI solution to connect all of your data points without the need to change any of your current platforms or devices. If you’re ready to implement smart farming on your farm, get in touch with the team at Toustone today.

Decision Intelligence Raises BI to the Next Level

Decision Intelligence Raises BI to the Next Level

Smart Farm: What you need to know

Decision Intelligence has evolved from Business Intelligence to deliver more effective decisions and better business outcomes. Where Business Intelligence tools enable data-driven decisions, Decision Intelligence goes beyond that to combine the cause and effect of a decision to determine the best outcome.

So, what does this mean? It means you don’t worry about processing data, you just get told which decisions fit your organisation best.

Decision Intelligence (DI) is still an emerging topic, so in clear terms we’re going to explain what it is, how it works, and how it can benefit you.

What is Decision Intelligence?

DI goes beyond Business Intelligence by combining intelligent technology and decision-making to create better business outcomes. It uses predictive analytics to allow us to look ahead and see what’s coming to create a practical approach to improving organisational decision making.

Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are growing at a faster pace than any of us would have expected just a few years ago, so we have incredibly large amounts of data available. But all the data in the world is of little use if it doesn’t drive the best decisions.

That’s why Decision Intelligence is so important. Each decision we make influences the next decision. DI analyzes the chain of cause and effects to optimise decision processes. Models improve over time, learning as more data is processed, to make better predictions and enable some decisions to become automated.

Machines do the learning for you, saving you the time of gathering and assessing data and compiling reports. Instead, insights are delivered to you so you can focus on taking action.

The result is that you can make higher quality, faster decisions with less effort.

How does Decision Intelligence work?

Decision Intelligence is the link between human decision-makers and machine learning. Decisions aren’t made just by a human, or just by a computer, but by combining the best of both. You are enabled to make faster and higher quality decisions without having to understand how to implement machine learning.

DI combines the logic of data with an understanding of what drives behaviours and how decisions are made. It goes beyond assessing what actions your customers are taking to drill into the reasons behind the actions.

The simplest example of DI in use are recommendation engines. Analytics are used to suggest new products for customers, broadening their initial search to related items. Through this you can understand the context behind a customer’s decision. A DI solution can provide answers to questions like ‘why aren’t my customers buying this product?’

It doesn’t just apply to human behaviour – it also applies to machines. Machine learning and AI can deliver a competitive edge in all aspects of a business, from back office through to customer engagement.

But many organisations stumble in deploying AI. They invest in resources but don’t know how to implement them. They lack a clear strategy or even an understanding of what AI can do. The process seems too complex and time-consuming. A KPMG survey of Global 500 companies reported that 30% of respondents said they used AI in their business but only 17% were using AI at scale throughout the organisation.

A DI solution is what connects humans with machines to drive the best decisions.

How can Decision Intelligence benefit you?

Machine learning and AI may be what divides successful organisations from those who fail. Decision Intelligence provides the set of tools that enable businesses to access all that machine learning and AI have to offer.

If you find yourself unsure of how to take full advantage of AI and machine learning, then a DI solution is for you.

In the coming articles, we’ll discuss the impact DI has had – and will have in future – on specific industries. Until then, contact our team at Toustone today to see what a DI solution can do for your organisation.

Data-driven: What is it and why does it matter?

Data-driven: What is it and why does it matter?

Smart Farm: What you need to know

We constantly use data to make decisions in our everyday lives. What products we buy, which route we choose to take to our destinations, the content we read and the conclusions we draw from it.

Yet in business, too many decisions are made based on gut feeling. A recent global survey reported that 58% of respondents say their companies base at least half of their decisions on gut feeling or experience rather than data and facts. While we may have developed great instincts over time, our opinions can be biased, influenced by emotion and often fail to assess the entire picture.

This is where the term “data-driven” comes into play. In a data-driven organisation, strategies are developed based on facts. The guesswork and emotional aspect of decision-making is removed as insights from data present clear ways to move forward in every area of the business

Why does being “data-driven” matter?

You need to make a marketing decision. You open a spreadsheet with historic sales figures, another with past campaign results and spend five minutes searching for the most up-to-date financial report. You find three different versions – which one is correct? Which one did your staff use? Can the numbers be relied on? Frustrated, you decide to go with your gut. If it’s worked before, it will work now, right?

Imagine instead that all of the data you need is presented in automated current reports. With a few clicks, you can dig deep into the numbers and understand the story behind them. Actionable insights are presented based on the data, guiding your decisions. There is no guesswork. Your entire team works from the same source of data, from IT through to operations.

This is what a data-driven organisation looks like. There is one single source of truth instead of multiple versions. The risk of making decisions based on outdated information is eliminated. Data is accessible, at your fingertips, with insights generated for you.

Data is utilised to lead the decision-making process. The data-driven organisation has a mentality of constant improvement. Insights allow you to quickly make the best decisions for the business and predict future trends so you stay ahead of the game.

Smart Farm: What you need to know

Getting started with data

To be an effective data-driven organisation, a solid data foundation is critical. If the data you start with is inaccurate, how can you expect to make the best decisions?

A Decision Intelligence solution starts with building a data foundation from quality data. The data is then mapped and stored in a data warehouse where queries are run to build automated reports. Reports are delivered directly to the user, and can be accessed anytime from anywhere with an internet connection.

Toustone sets this all up for you with minimal disruption to operations. You don’t have to understand how it all works. We’ll work with you to understand your organisation’s needs and provide a solution.

Empowering your staff with reliable, accessible data means everyone can make confident, consistent decisions. You control who has access to what, so your staff only sees what they need to see. This protects the security of your data while allowing each department to focus on what is relevant to them.

Any organisation stands to benefit from being data-driven. Every department can rely on data, from finance to customer service, to make the best decisions.

To get your business started on the path to being data-driven, contact our team at Toustone today.